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Probiotics May Ease Depression Symptoms

Probiotics May Ease Depression Symptoms

A new Canadian study finds that probiotics, used to reduce gastrointestinal distress, also appear to mitigate symptoms of depression.

McMaster University researchers discovered twice as many adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) reported improvements from co-existing depression when they took a specific probiotic than adults with IBS who took a placebo.

The findings appear in the medical journal Gastroenterology.

The study provides further evidence that the microbiota environment in the intestines communicates with the brain, said senior author Dr. Premysl Bercik, an associate professor of medicine at McMaster and a gastroenterologist for Hamilton Health Sciences.

“This study shows that consumption of a specific probiotic can improve both gut symptoms and psychological issues in IBS. This opens new avenues not only for the treatment of patients with functional bowel disorders but also for patients with primary psychiatric diseases,” he said.

IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in the world, and is highly prevalent in Canada. It affects the large intestine and patients suffer from abdominal pain and altered bowel habits like diarrhea and constipation. They are also frequently affected by chronic anxiety or depression.

The pilot study involved 44 adults with IBS and mild to moderate anxiety or depression. They were followed for 10 weeks, as half took a daily dose of the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001, while the others had a placebo.

At six weeks, 14 of 22, or 64 percent, of the patients taking the probiotic had decreased depression scores, compared to seven of 22 (or 32 percent) of patients given placebo.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed that the improvement in depression scores was associated with changes in multiple brain areas involved in mood control.

“This is the result of a decade-long journey — from identifying the probiotic, testing it in preclinical models and investigating the pathways through which the signals from the gut reach the brain,” said Bercik.

“The results of this pilot study are very promising but they have to be confirmed in a future, larger scale trial,” said Dr. Maria Pinto Sanchez, the first author and a McMaster clinical research fellow.

The study was performed in collaboration with scientists from Nestlé.

Source: McMaster University/EurekAlert

Probiotics May Ease Depression Symptoms

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2017). Probiotics May Ease Depression Symptoms. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/05/24/probiotics-may-relieve-depression-symptoms/120997.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 24 May 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 May 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.